How to Become a Copywriter Supreme Using These 7 Research Tools

Mark Elmo Ellis – Get more out of my site HERE

The ability to write copy by using great structure, overcoming objections and compelling words can make you a great copywriter.  However, the measure of your success will not be measured by how much your client likes the way you wrote your copy or if your client looks at your work and says “well done”.

Your success will entirely depend on one thing…how much money your copy brings in at the end of the day.

There are a couple things that you can do that will reel prospects in far better than an average writer can do that just cranks out mediocre copy.

One of the things that you’ll have to learn how to do is write copy that will keep readers engaged throughout the entire piece. Not an easy task to do if you unless you have really fascination bits of information to keep your reader engaged.

Here’s an example of using research to further engage your reader and give them solid proof that you know what you’re talking about:

The only way to get that kind of information in front of your reader is to do a bunch of work on the front end.

In other words, you need to do a lot of research before you start writing.

Research: The Hidden Work

Gathering research is one of those things that clients don’t see when you hand them over your work.  All most entrepreneurs just see the copy you written and possibly mountains of money that they’ll be making when the motherlode comes in from their sales page or campaign.

They won’t see all of the time you spent gathering research and looking at data related to your copy.  They won’t see all of the time you spent pouring over competitor’s ads and websites or data collected from other sources.

Collecting research is absolutely vital to creating copy that will sell your readers and make your copy 100% more interesting.

The Upside to Doing Research

One of the hidden benefits of doing research work is that it will make you an absolute master of your niche.

Here’s a good example:

Joe and Jolene are competitive copywriters.

Joe is a generalist and writes for all sorts of niches: hunting and fishing, boating, financial markets, small business owners of all sorts.  Joe is a good, solid copywriter with excellent skills.

Jolene has carved out a nice little niche in the education field.  She understands the entire marketing process that colleges use to attract and keep students.  She knows the success rate of universities in different subject areas and all about the language, desires and aspirations of college age students.

Jolene has done extensive research in the area of marketing and selling to college prospects and has a successful track record with several major universities.

Now, pretend you’re the marketing director with Podunk University and you need to have copy written for an expensive brochure you are going to mass produce.

Which copywriter are you going to hire?

Not really a contest is it?

And by the way, as a copywriter, Jolene doesn’t have to spend marketing mega-bucks chasing all sorts of different niches.

All she really needs to do is become an authority in her field – education – or more specifically – college education and marketing – and her efforts to gain clients and contracts are much easier and cheaper.


So, heavily researching a field will make you a ninja master at whatever niche you choose to specialize in.

Clarification: I’m not suggesting that you become some sort of copywriting hermit and restrict yourself to only one niche to write in.  However, it will help you tremendously if you do become known for one particular niche or specialty. 

Whatever your assignment happens to be, you’ll want to do a boatload of research on the front end.  Your client will also be amazed at how much you know on the subject.

How Presenting a Lot of Facts Will Grab Your Reader

Another hidden benefit to doing a lot of research and having a junk-load of facts is that your reader will almost feel like he or she is reading a fact laden article.  They will actually think that they’re gaining knowledge about a subject that other people or friends may not have.

Here’s a good example of a magazine ad that’s disguised as an article.  (Notice all of the proof it offers, blatantly!)

proof in copy

As you can see by looking at the ad above, the copywriters are proving their point and making their case by giving you all sorts of facts in rather large print.  Don’t think for a second that these writers did this to make the article look cool.

Everything you see on a page like this has been carefully thought out.

This tactic also makes the writer an authority on the subject because he or she has done all of the research that was important to their case.  In effect the writer is now the expert on the subject.

Definition of Expert: A person that knows a thing or two more about a subject than you do.

So when you know quite a bit about your subject area, you are perceived as an expert in that particular niche or field.  As a result, your clients will come to respect you and have untold confidence in your abilities.

But the bottom line that’ll increase your bottom line is: When writing copy, make sure you have relevant, current and evidence to back up your claims or evidence.

copywriting premium content

Another Hidden Benefit of “Being an Expert”

As you do research on your chosen product, you’ll also begin to cultivate, collate and organize a ton of information on your subject.   This will become very valuable later on when you start writing more copy that is similar to the niches you’ve chosen to work in.

Not only that, but you’ll learn how to gather data and facts from a variety of sources much quicker and easier.

It used to be that you would have to go down to your local library and actually dig through a card catalog to get material and facts.  Now you can do much of this from home if you have Internet access.

If you find that you can’t find the research you’re looking for, you can always go to your public library. But, usually you can do an Internet search for what you’re looking for.

Online Resources to Cut Your Gathering Time in Half

One great places you can go to is the Free Library powered by Farlex.  Here’s the URL:

Also, the University of Wisconsin has a database of free databases here where you can access tons of information on a variety of sites:

Another great source of information online can be obtained at the Internet Archive at this Web address:

If you want to access a group of databases, you can always go to this list of free databases:

A few of the other Internet methods of finding information online is by using Google.  If I’m working a piece of copy that I need some solid facts for I’ll use Google’s search engine thus:

I recently had to write copy for a video surveillance software company and I needed some statistics to back up my claims.

In the search field, I typed “crime” + “statistics”;

Here are the results I got:

Any one of the resources I used from the FBI’s sites was loaded with data I could draw facts and figures from and use in my copy.

I also typed in: “crime statistics and data” and got overloaded with sites that I could grab data from.

There are other places on the Internet that you could get resources from much quicker.  Some of these are paid services:

Abstracts of the U.S.

Facts on File

Other Fun and Fast Ways of Doing Copywriting Research

One of the best ways to do research for your copywriting is to find places where people have tried a product and then left a comment or review.

One of the easy ways to do this is to use Google’s search engine to find reviews.  For example, if you were doing a review of Adobe Photoshop you’d type this into Google’s search field:

“Adobe Photoshop Review”

However, there’s a problem with this.  Usually, people are trying to sell their wares and are many times giving glowing reviews about a product so they can sell it.  You want to avoid these types of reviews like the plague.

So you may have to look through a bunch of reviews to get to one that’s actually objective.  That’s OK because when someone writes a review of that nature, they’re usually a fairly good writer and can present both pro and con facts about a product that you can use for your copy.

Using Amazon to Get Great Intel on a Product

Believe it or not, you can use Amazon and other similar sites to get great reviews and information on a product.

Let’s say that you’ve been tasked to write copy for Sony Vegas a video editing piece of software.

On Amazon’s search field, you use the drop down menu and select “software”.  Next, type in “Sony Vegas” into the search field; if you see a bunch of comments, that’s a good sign, because you know that it’s a good product if people have ordered it and then commented on it as well.

Here’s a good example of a comment you will find doing this type of research:

amazon comments

I’ve taken the liberty to highlight the areas you can get great benefits and features from and how people felt about the product.   In this example I noticed this phrase:

“…create a professional looking product once you are done.”  So, this type of phrase could be used as a benefit.  “…more options for editing than most of the competition…” could also be used.

Even the negative comments can be used as well for overcoming objections in the copy, so don’t blow those off either.  But, this is a real super easy way to get more research done on what people really think about a product, and it can be done very quickly.

Check Out the Competition Too!

Another way to get a lot of data and ideas for benefits is to check out your competitors.  If your client is selling HVAC equipment, check out a bunch of his competitors.  Look at their websites, Yellow Page ads, yelp status and comments.

It could very well be that his competition has also hired a copywriter and you can glean all sorts or ideas from reading and collecting their ads and sales material.  You can also go on Google images and search images of ads from similar businesses.

Here’s an HVAC ad I found in Google Images in just a minute or two!

ad copy for HVAC

Before You Write…Read Everything!

So at this point you should have the following data sources:

  • All of the advertising materials from your clients past advertising campaigns to include tear sheets, sales letters, advertisements, etc.
  • A list of statistics and resources from many of the data sites listed above
  • Online reviews by sources like Amazon, eBay and others
  • Any materials that you have collected in the past on the subject
  • Any bookmarked online sales pages that are well written and high converting
  • Similar ads you may have found on Google images or from online sources like your local chamber of commerce
  • Yellow page ads representing similar products and services

Once you have all of this information in your hands, you need to take several days or maybe even a week to read and digest all of it.  If you have time, see if you can dig up even more information on it.

Dig, dig, dig and dig and read some more!  You want to absorb this stuff like a sponge and become an absolute expert on it.

If you can, see if you can find an expert or a pro that works in the area you’re writing about and interview that person.

Guess what?  You’ll almost always discover or hear stuff that most people don’t know about.   That will put you well ahead of the average Joe…or Jolene.

Long Tail Keywords – The Way to Find Specific Information

Let’s say for the sake of a good example that you’re writing advertising copy for a boating company.  You are supposed to write advertising copy that will appear in a prominent sporting magazine and the product is a pontoon boat used for mostly recreating instead of fishing.

Now if you merely do a search for “boats” on Google, you’ll get a return of about 322 million search results.  That’s a lot of pages to search through!!!

So, in order to narrow it down, you’ll have to use long tail key words. If you did a search on sports boats you’d whittle it down to 27 million.  Hey, we’re getting somewhere!

Now you can really stretch your search engine savvy wings and try this:

“Recreational Pontoon Boats” which will drop you down to about 270,000 search results.

However, you want to look at material that is very specific to the company you’re writing for.  Let’s say that you will be writing for the Yamaha corporation.  You could the use a very specific keyword search like:

“large cold weather recreational pontoon boats Yamaha”

That got our search down to about 23,000 results.

See how that works?

So when you need to get very specific information for your files from the Internet, you can use this method to get your numbers way down.

Don’t Worry, Just Like Everything Else This Gets Easier

As you pursue your trade and career as a copywriter you’ll eventually become very good at gathering and collating information and data.

Once you’ve done it a lot you’ll develop your own procedure at gathering this information and it will seem like second nature to you.

You’ll find that you’ll be saving your most valuable asset too…time!

Your Next Assignment – Gathering Data

I’m going to make this assignment a little different than the other assignments. As a teacher, I know that it gets really boring when all of the assignments are the same.

The downside to that is you’ll get bored with the course material and eventually stop.  So I am deliberately making this assignment different.

This is what I like to call an open ended assignment, which is a fancy way of saying, I’m giving you a choice.  You can either pick one of my subjects to research or you can decide to pick a subject you are particularly interested in.

So, here are the choices for your assignment:

  1. Pretend that you are going to be writing for a business that sells information on how to use bitcoins.   You will need to gather all of the necessary information and data on this subject that you can using the methods I have outlined above.
  2. Pretend that you are writing for a sales page in a opportunity magazine for a carpet cleaning franchise. You need to gather all the data necessary for creating the advertising copy that you’ll need to complete the assignment.
  3. Pick a subject of your own to do research. Once again, dig deep and see how much data you can gather on this subject.

Just remember that one of your goals will be to find out little known information on your subject.  As I mentioned earlier, the more new or interesting the information that you have (that no one else seems to know) the better off you’ll be.

The more you practice gathering data, the better you’ll get at it. Also, you’ll want to start gathering.

Extra!!! Secret Way to Finding Free Swipe Files

While I was doing research on this topic I came up with another great way of gathering data and getting swipe files that you can easily use.

I’m pretty sure that someone else has probably figured this out already, but I’ve never seen it, so you can add this to your arsenal of ways to find data and swipes you can use.

Let’s say that you are writing copy for an investment opportunity and you’re looking for investment types of swipes to use for your research.

Well, Google has a section of its search page that can help you.  Check out the screen capture below:gathering copywriting data

You’ll notice that there’s a new section heading when you type in a search query and hit the search button; it says, “Books”.

Click on “books” and scroll down the page. In this case, I noticed a magazine with “Kiplinger’s” name on it.  (Kiplinger is a well-known investment magazine.)

Once you click on that you’ll be taken to a page that has almost the entire magazine scanned and archived, to include any and all advertisements.  In this case you’ll see a junk-load of advertisements that were written by quality copywriters.

magazine ads for swipe files

Yeah, it’s a virtual motherlode. You can extract a lot of great information and copywriting ideas from these archived magazine articles.

And guess what?  Google makes it even easier on you to find the articles your need by giving you a way to view all of the pages of the magazine in one clear view.

All you have to do is toggle the black button with the white dots on it (looks like a domino) and you can select whichever page you so desire!

swipe file and data view

With all of this information, you’ll be the “master of data disaster” in no time.


Once again, the way to write awesome copy is to do a lot of research on the front end.  If you follow these simple steps you’ll be able to write well researched copy that your clients will come to revere and drool after.

In our next session we’re going to look at a technique called “across the table talk” which will make engage your readers and make them identify with your copy and read just about every section you write.



Anything relevant to say?

Please write something below and leave a link to your website in the field below.

God Bless, and Happy New Year!


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3 thoughts on “How to Become a Copywriter Supreme Using These 7 Research Tools

  1. I have always wondered what really makes a person an expert. For years I have wondered if that title was actually given to people by royalty or what ever. Great post and resource section. I think you could probably make that part of your post a little bigger. (Just a suggestion, I hope you don’t mind.)

    Overall, a very informative site and blog. Thanks so much!

  2. Having read this I could easily see how not researching my topics was effecting my copywriting efforts .
    I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this information together because it is very extensive and helpful. I particularly found the section on locating resources a huge help. Thanks so much for the great info, Elmo!

  3. Thanks Keri, I will probably make a much more comprehensive list in the future.

    God Bless!

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